WASHINGTON, Aug 24 (Reuters) – The United States could get COVID-19 under control by early next year, with potential wider vaccine approvals coming in the weeks ahead, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday, one day after Pfizer won wider FDA approval for its shot.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, in television interviews, said full Food and Drug Administration approval for Pfizer’s vaccine paves the way for more people to get inoculated, with potential approval for Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines in coming weeks and approval for young children possibly this fall.
“If we get the overwhelming majority of those 80 to 90 million people who have not yet been vaccinated, who have been reluctant to get vaccinated or have not had the opportunity, I believe we can see light at the end of the tunnel,” he told NBC News’ “Today” program.
“We can turn this thing around,” he told MSNBC.
Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical officer and the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told MSNBC he expects Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to secure full FDA approval “relatively soon,” possibly within several weeks to one month.
“I think there’s a reasonable chance” that Pfizer or Moderna could get FDA approval for younger children before the upcoming holiday season, he told NBC News. “Hopefully by the mid-late fall and early winter.”
“If we can get through this winter, and get really the majority, overwhelming majority of the 90 million people who have not been vaccinated, vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the spring of 2022,” Fauci told CNN late Monday night.
Pfizer Inc and its partner BioNTech secured full FDA approval on Monday. Moderna and J&J’s vaccines remain authorized under FDA emergency use authorization.
U.S. health officials expect Monday’s action will spur more state and local governments, as well as private employers and other entities, to mandate COVID vaccines. That, combined with some vaccine skeptics potentially getting their shot following the FDA’s fuller approval, could help turn the tide, Fauci said.
“It’s going to totally be up to us,” he told NBC. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Jonathan Oatis)